Solidarity Needed with Winnemam Wintu in California

Call for solidarity in defense of Winnemem Wintu Coming of Age Ceremony

The Winnemem Wintu are a salmon and middle water people living on what is left of their ancestral lands from Mt. Shasta down the McCloud River watershed in California. They have issued a request for solidarity in defense of a sacred Coming of Age Ceremony for young Winnemem Wintu women. This Ceremony is traditionally held on a 400-yard section of the McCloud, and the Tribe has called for closure of this section during the four-day ceremony from June 29th-July 3rd.

Of course, the Forest Service has denied the Tribe’s demand for a closure of the area during a popular tourist weekend. Last year the agency imposed a voluntary closure in which the Winnemem Wintu could request that boaters stay out of the area, but could not force them. In past years the Ceremony has been interrupted by drunken boaters, a constant stream of loud engines, racial slurs, and even indecent exposure by a woman in a passing boat. The Ceremony includes an important element in which the young women swim across the river. With the constant boat traffic, this action puts participants in direct physical danger.

“We have been backed into a corner with no other choice. We should be preparing for Marisa [Sisk]’s ceremony, setting down prayers, making regalia, getting the dance grounds ready, making sure it happens in a good way,” said Caleen Sisk, spiritual leader and chief. “But instead we have to fight simply to protect our young women from drunken harassment.”

The Winnemem Wintu are requesting help to blockade the river and prevent intrusive disruptions of this important Ceremony. Experienced kayakers are especially needed. Help is also need to publicize these violations through phone, networking, media, social media, and letters of protest sent to the regional Forest Service office. (See contact info below for the office’s address)

For anyone considering participation in this blockade, there are some important things to think about. First and foremost, this is an act of solidarity. This is not an invitation to a sacred ceremony or a protest. Individuals interested in participating should be fully self-sufficient with provisions, tents, and other camping equipment.

A supporter of DGR who works in solidarity with Indigenous struggles offers some insight on Indigenous solidarity in general:

“Ask the Winnemem Wintu and trusted supporters on-site where help from non-Natives is appropriate and needed.

From personal experience as a non-Native doing support work, I would only bring other non-Natives if they are known to be respectful of boundaries, and not doing this work as a way to steal Indigenous Knowledge or gain access to ceremony. Undoubtedly some of those sorts will turn up, and I think it’s our job as non-native allies to run interference and keep any disruption, even “well-intentioned” disruption, away from the ceremonies.

I know some AIMsters who blockaded the river for the last ceremony. They were not there to participate in ceremony, but to do support. So they set up their own camp and organized patrols on the water and shores. They kept a boundary around any ceremonial activity, they worked in the kitchens, they made sure the Winnemem Wintu folks had the space to do their thing. From what I saw from my friends’ photos, there’s a campground there and it makes sense to have a series of interconnected camps like affinity groups.

This type of protection of ceremony is similar to what some of my male friends have done to protect women’s ceremonies – they have stood just out of earshot (though a yell could reach them), turned their backs so they don’t witness anything private, and kept other men from coming into the women’s space.”

Watch a video of the intrusive disturbance of a previous Ceremony

Those interested in protecting this Ceremony please contact: winnememwintutribe[at]gmail[dot]com

To send letters or make phone calls in protest of the Forest Service’s inaction:

Email Attorney General Kamala Harris:

Email Assistant AG Kristian Whitten: (civil rights violations)

Governor’s twitter: @JerryBrownGov

Email Randy Moore, Regional Forest Director:
Snail Mail: 1323 Club Drive, Vallejo, CA 94592
Call: 707-562-8737

The Tribe requests that messages are respectful and peaceful

Media inquiries, please contact:
Jeanne France, Media Relations: 530-472-1050
Michael Preston, Media Relations: 510-926-1513

Learn more about the Winnemem Wintu
Learn more about the Ceremony
Press Coverage of the Winnemam Wintu War Dance in protest of the Forest Service’s inaction:
San Francisco Chronicle


DGR Great Plains Report from Rapid City Protest

Report from Great Plains Visit to Pine Ridge and Participation in Vern Traversie Protest

This past weekend, Deep Green Resistance Great Plains (and Alex from Deep Green Resistance Colorado) went to Pine Ridge to meet with our Lakota allies there about the upcoming action in Whiteclay, NE and to participate in and support a March for Justice for Vern Traversie.

Saturday afternoon we hosted a showing of End:Civ at the library in Rapid City. About 20 people attended, many of them friends from Pine Ridge. After the screening, we had a discussion about the film and the need for unity and resistance. All were in agreement that we need to work together to make the resistance movement in the Great Plains stronger so that we can start to win.

The next morning, we drove the remaining couple of hours down to Pine Ridge, where we met with allies and members of AIM. We were invited to a meeting about the March for Vern Traversy, where we were asked to help be a part of the march security team.

Vern Traversie is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and was at Rapid City Regional Hospital several months ago for heart surgery. While he was unconscious, the letters “KKK” were carved into his stomach. In the words of Dennis Banks, who marched with us and spoke at the rally, this is at Regional Hospital. The march was a call, a demand, for justice and an end to racism in Rapid City and Regional Hospital.

The next day, we awoke and joined our allies in Pine Ridge, where a caravan assembled before leaving for Rapid City and the March for Vern. We stopped outside of Rapid City for a ceremony and to rendezvous with others who joined the caravan. There were more than 20 cars, honking horns and waving AIM flags out the windows as we drove through Rapid City, drawing as much attention as we could to ourselves and the fact that racism and crimes like that against Vern would not go unanswered.

After a short rally at Memorial Park, about 700 of us marched 3 miles to Rapid City Regional Hospital, where many people got a chance to speak out about racism and their own experiences. After the march, we said goodbye to our friends (and some new ones) and drove back to Jefferson.

It was a great trip, both fun as well as being a productive and meaningful time spent with our allies, building relationships and supporting on going work. We look forward to having more people with us for the action in June, and to seeing our comrades in Pine Ridge again soon.

In Solidarity with Pine Ridge – DGR Great Plains Announces Action at White Clay, NE

The film Battle for Whiteclay, a documentary about the ongoing genocide in Whiteclay, Nebraska

March for Justice 2012: Always in Memory of Wally Black Elk and Ron Hard Heart
Date: June 9th, 2012 at 12 pm
Location: Billy Mills Hall, Pine Ridge, SD
A Day of Action against Whiteclay, NE

Whiteclay, Nebraska is an unincorporated village with a population of 14 people in northwest Nebraska. The town sits on the border of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home to the Oglala Lakota (also known as the Oglala Sioux Tribe), only 200 feet from the official reservation border and less than 3 miles from the center of Pine Ridge, South Dakota, the largest town on the reservation. On June 9th, the fight against Whiteclay continues.

Sale and possession of alcoholic beverages on the Pine Ridge is prohibited under tribal law. Except for a brief experiment with on-reservation liquor sales in the early 1970s, this prohibition has been in effect since the reservation lands were created. Whiteclay has four off-sale beer stores licensed by the State of Nebraska which sell the equivalent of 4.5 million 12-ounce cans of beer annually (12,500 cans per day), mostly to the Oglalas living on Pine Ridge. These retailers routinely violate Nebraska liquor law by selling beer to minors and intoxicated persons, knowingly selling to bootleggers who resell the beer on the reservation, permitting on-premise consumption of beer in violation of restrictions placed on off-sale-only licenses, and exchanging beer for sexual favors.

Many people have died in the streets due to exposure, as the state of Nebraska fails to address the breaches of state law and countless deaths as a result of dealers in Whiteclay. As long as the liquor stores in Whiteclay remain in business, the genocide of the Oglala Lakota people will continue.

Deep Green Resistance Great Plains and other Deep Green Resistances organizers across the country are coordinating support for the Oglala Lakota activists organizing the action against the liquor peddlers in Whiteclay. We stand with the people of Pine Ridge and the organizers of this action against the continuation of genocide. Stand with us as we send the message: “No more liquor in Whiteclay!”

On June 9th 1999 two Lakota men, Wally Black Elk and Ron Hard Heart, were brutally murdered in Whiteclay. It is in their memory that we will march for justice. We are seeking material support, in the form of food and donations for caravans and for the action itself. Additionally, we will be collecting donated fans and air conditioners to bring to elders on Pine Ridge.

DGR Great Plains Reports from Pine Ridge Reservation

Hello Friends,

From February 25th-27th, Deep Green Resistance Great Plains traveled to Wounded Knee, South Dakota, located on the Pine Ridge Reservation in order to take part in the 39th Annual Liberation Day. The purpose was to commemorate and celebrate those who took part in and died in the 1973 takeover as well as those who died in the Wounded Knee Massacre. Members of DGR Great Plains traveled from Iowa City, IA, Cedar Rapids, IA, Cedar Falls, IA, and Omaha, NE, to meet in Jefferson SD the night before. Upon arrival, we bonded, shared a meal, had a meeting, and watched a documentary about the 1973 takeover to give everyone in the group some historical perspective.

We arose bright and early at 6am to begin the long drive west across the state of South Dakota. Along the drive, many of us from the heart of production for the world’s corn and soybeans were taken in by the beauty of the prairie land, golden and swaying in the wind. With over 99% of our prairies gone, it was quite a treat to see. On our first day in Western South Dakota, we took time to take in the natural beauty of the Black Hills. An evergreen tree called the Ponderosa Pine dominates the forests of the hills, making the hills appear black. Later that day we went to Wind Cave National Park, which is as close as we could get to South Dakota’s natural state before the arrival of settler society. For so many of us that spent most of our lives in cities, standing in the presence of a strong force of wind, the endless hills, free roaming bison, antelope, mule deer, elk, prairie dogs and the vastness of the sky was a freeing experience. Being there gave us a new perspective on what we are fighting for, from an abstraction to something tangible and real.

The next day was the pow wow. Before the pow wow we took time in the morning to meet with activists at the Wounded Knee Museum, and we also took time to drop off supplies that we brought with us (blankets, electric blankets, winter clothes and canned food items) for elders whose homes are not built well enough to deal with the South Dakota winters. All of us, especially those at a pow wow for the first time, really enjoyed taking in all of the beautiful costumes, beating drums and singing. To our surprise they called our group down and our Lakota friends and all of us performed a round dance in DGR Great Plains’ honor. We were asked to give a short speech to let everyone in the audience know why DGR Great Plains was in attendance. We let them know that DGR was at Liberation Day to show our solidarity with all indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, and the we would do everything in our power to help keep alive their beautiful culture and language and protect their land from encroachment by settler societies.

The last day was the four directions walk. It was quite a windy day but the weather was no matter. While our group walked a mile, people walked from more than several miles away to this event. To be there that weekend, to participate and fly our banner alongside members of both Native Youth Movement and the American Indian Movement, was quite an honor. This trip was an important first step to building a relationship with the Lakota people, a relationship crucial to successful defense of the land against our common enemy. DGR Great Plains was shown the greatest hospitality by our hosts, and given honor and respect that we still work to deserve. We hope to have the chance to earn it soon.

This adventure was crucial to creating friendship and a feeling of family among our members. Some of us knew each other before the trip and others were meeting for the first time. We did an excellent job of getting along as twelve people all shared one hotel suite. I think we all walked away from this experience having grown closer as a group, and stronger in our resolve to bring down this death machine.

Love and Rage,

The Deep Green Resistance Great Plains Crew

New Book Featuring Deep Green Resistance Authors: The (Un)OccupyMovement

A new book, compiled and edited by Mankh (Walter E. Harris III), features contributions from Deep Green Resistance authors Aric McBay, Lierre Keith, and Derrick Jensen. The book is called The (Un)Occupy Movement: Anatomy of Conscousness, Practical Solutions, Human Equality. Prose and Poetry, and you can order copies here.

Excerpt from the book’s introduction:

As the title suggests, there is an “Occupy Movement” (begun with Occupy Wall Street) that has stirred the so-called American melting pot from its backburner state. Suddenly, things are cooking and more and more People are getting a whiff of the spirited air. Yet, from the perspective of the First Nations or Natives, the land has been unjustly occupied since 1492. Indigenous Peoples around the globe are dealing with similar issues. Hence, “Unoccupy Movement.”

Read a review of the book here.

Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith, Waziyatawin, Aric McBay Speak at Occupy Oakland

Watch Derrick Jensen, Waziyatawin, Lierre Keith, and Aric McBay speak at Occupy Oakland to a welcoming audience!

Lierre Keith

[The Occupy] movement has staked a claim on being the 99%. I think that’s self-evident. Capitalism is the 1% taking from the 99%. But add this. 98% of the old growth forests are gone. 99% of the world’s prairies are gone. That means 99% of the pasque flowers and 99% of the prairie dogs and 99% of the bison. The wealth is created from their dead bodies. The point isn’t to distribute the wealth, it’s to stop the death while there is something left alive.


Aric Mcbay

What we need is two pronged. On the one hand we need to build local, sustainable, democratic communities in which everyone’s basic needs are met…We have to learn how to meet our own needs. On the other hand we have to fight to stop global industrial capitalism. We can only win if we shut down the machine. That is the only way to ensure a livable future. What we need is a real resistance movement.


Given the realities of peak debt and peak oil, we are now facing the collapse of the American economy and the collapse of civilization more broadly. These combine with the crises emerging from global warming, climate change, and the collapse of ecosystems do to hyper-exploitation, meaning that it is time for everyone to recognize the harm of the existing system and institutions and to seek to dismantle them completely to save all life before it is all destroyed.

Derrick Jensen

Since the legal system won’t hold destructive institutions accountable, the responsibility falls on each of us. This means that all of us who care about salmon, for example, must learn to be accountable to salmon rather than loyal to political and economic institutions that do not serve us well. The same is true for those who care about San Francisco Bay, for those who care about democracy, for those who care about communities, for those who care about the future, for those who care about any living being. We must act on that loyalty. We must do whatever is necessary to protect our homes and our land bases from those who would destroy them… Only then will we have a future.

Watch more videos at the Deep Green Resistance Youtube Channel.

Oglala Lakota Matriarch Regina Brave Speaks about Keystone XL Pipeline

The Keystone XL pipeline, proposed to carry oil from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, would have a devastating impact on the environment along its route, particularly in the Indigenous communities already marginalized by centuries of genocide. The Lakota people live above the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the world’s largest aquifers, which supplies 30% of the water for irrigation in the United States and 82% of the drinking water for those living above it. Any spill, which judging by the record of other tar sands pipelines is a matter of when and not if, would be catastrophic for all the life that depends on this vital source of water.

Our wealth isn’t money, it isn’t material things, it is in our health and what we pass down to our future generations… We need to pass down to our generations good clean air, a decent environment, and water as it should be, without pollution.